Football: Liverpool give Houllier hope

Middlesbrough 1 Liverpool 3

HALFWAY THROUGH the season, the Liverpool manager, Gerard Houllier, believes his charges have finally turned the corner.

"We have a lot of work to do but we are going up," he said, after his side became the first to win at Middlesbrough in 14 months. He singled out his five-man midfield, who threw a shield in front of his three defenders to protect them both from the supply to Middlesbrough's rampaging forwards and from themselves.

For, while Paul Gascoigne was pushed backwards into less harmful areas and the tireless runs of Andy Townsend were curtailed, Liverpool's back line looked far from composed. Even given the gale, David James' kicking was poor, Phil Babb looked calamitously uncomfortable under high balls with Hamilton Ricard and Brian Deane behaving like bulls in china shops, and even Steve Staunton passed the simplest of balls straight to a red shirt - of Middlesbrough.

The home side's best moments came from Liverpool's unconventional defending. Their goal came when Deane outjumped Babb and outwitted James; Middlesbrough's closest effort was Babb's stooping header in front of James, who was expecting to gather Townsend's cross, and Ricard's clearest opening came courtesy of a strange back-header from Paul Ince.

Still, Liverpool did calm down after half-time, largely because their revolving forward line began to take the game to a defence that had lost its lynchpin.

"Gary Pallister had a fitness test before the game on his ankle and was feeling it after 10 minutes, when maybe he should have come off," Robson said. Pallister had first lost Ince, who set up Liverpool's first for Carragher, and then, unsettled by Michael Owen, back-passed for Mark Schwarzer to pick up and concede the free-kick that Jamie Redknapp blasted home for his side's second.

With Pallister substituted at half-time, it was Karlheinz Riedle's appearance on the hour in place of Robbie Fowler that sealed the game. Until then, Middlesbrough had a hope that a goalmouth gift would come their way but, with Riedle commanding the ball at the other end of the field, James and Co relaxed.

Steve McManaman replaced Owen for 15 minutes of free flowing football and back-heels, before Vegard Heggem danced downfield past three dispirited defenders and looped the ball over Schwarzer in the 89th minute.

Goals: Carragher (17) 0-1; Deane (33) 1-1, Redknapp (35) 1-2; Heggem (89) 1-3.

Middlesbrough (3-5-2): Schwarzer; Cooper, Vickers, Pallister (Fleming, h-t); Festa, Maddison (Stamp, 72), Gascoigne, Townsend (Beck, 78), Gordon; Deane, Ricard. Substitutes not used: Moore; Beresford (gk).

Liverpool (3-5-2): James; Carragher, Staunton, Babb; Heggem, Redknapp (Harkness, 90), Ince, Berger, Bjornebye; Fowler (Riedle, 58), Owen (McManaman, 76). Substitutes not used: McAteer; Friedel (gk).

Referee: G Poll (Tring). Bookings: Middlesbrough: Gascoigne, Festa, Cooper. Liverpool: Babb, Bjornebye, Riedle.

Man of the match: Schwarzer.

Attendance: 34,626.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future